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Every two years or so, Touch has produced a sampler giving an overview of our current activities and affiliations. Following Touch 00 (2000), and even prefiguring its release, we wanted to make something that reflected the increasing reliance on the already recorded, whilst suggesting a more lateral approach to the use of source material. This first tendency is manifest everywhere, from tribute bands, to remixes, to updates or clones of earlier sound successes (Oasis and Blur vs. The Beatles and The Kinks, and so on). Another syndrome has developed whereby sounds are transformed by various software programmes, and what seems to be an innovation soon reveals itself to be generic.

“Star Switch On” is not an answer to such questions, but it is a reflection of the current obsession with ‘mapping’, ‘storing’ and ‘modulating’. We were interested in what would happen when artists were given a ‘carte-blanche’ to work with recordings that had a definite and undeniable subject, location and atmosphere – the wildlife sound recordings of Chris Watson published on “Stepping Into the Dark” (TO:27) and “Outside the Circle of Fire” (TO:37) – imagining a perverse take on library music, sampling, remix, all inadequate in denoting the soundscapes we hoped such a brief would encourage.

“Star Switch On” features two new recordings by Chris Watson, alongside Biosphere, Fennesz, Hazard, Mika Vainio, Philip Jeck and AER. Chris Watson, former member of Cabaret Voltaire and The Hafler Trio, has many credits to his name, not least the series of wildlife programmes made by David Attenborough to which he contributed. In 2000, “Outside the Circle of Fire” won a distinction for ‘Digital Music’ at Ars Electronica.


released April 2, 2002


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Chris Watson UK

Chris Watson is one of the world's leading recorders of wildlife and natural phenomena, and for Touch he edits his field recordings into a filmic narrative.

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